Students may seek an M.A. in Linguistics either as their terminal degree or as a prerequisite for the Ph.D program in Linguistics. However, students should note that successful completion of the M.A. program does not guarantee entry into the Ph.D. program; students must also submit a Ph.D. application portfolio which must be reviewed and approved by the Linguistics faculty.

The M.A. program is appropriate for students seeking linguistic knowledge as a foundation for work in such allied professional fields as language teaching, interpreter education, language planning, bilingual education, and language assessment. Graduates of this program are sought for positions in interpreter training programs, faculty teaching posts at the college level, or, given the appropriate educational background, for positions as teachers of deaf children. Students pursuing the M.A. in Linguistics at Gallaudet receive solid grounding in linguistic theory, methods, and research with a special emphasis on sign language linguistics.

Gallaudet's Ph.D. program in linguistics, with a focus on sign language, opened its doors in the fall semester of 2002. Students may specialize in a range of theoretical and applied areas related to sign language, including phonology, syntax, morphology, cognitive linguistics, sociolinguistics, first language acquisition, and second language acquisition.